5 things to know about Alabama softball ace Montana Fouts in the WCWS
Sydney Littlejohn, Alexis Osorio, Jackie Traina and others. This is a small list of the All-American and Pitcher of the Year arms coach Patrick Murphy has had in the circle during his 25-year tenure as Alabama softball coach.
Next to join this illustrious list is junior Montana Fouts, who was named 2021 SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP and threw the sixth perfect game in Women's College World Series history on her birthday in a win against No. 2 UCLA to advance the Crimson Tide to the WCWS semifinal.
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Here are five things to know about Fouts:
She's an all-time high school great
Fouts was named the USA Today and MaxPreps National Player of the Year in 2018 and was a four-time USA Today and MaxPreps All-American as well as a four-time USA Today first-team member.
She is a three-time Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year (2016-18) and holds the best ERA (0.16) in state history. Fouts posted 111 career wins with 1,483 strikeouts, 77 shutouts, 25 no-hitters and 15 perfect games in four years.
Her presence was felt immediately
Fouts was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, was All-SEC and named Women's College World Series All-Tournament in her first year at Alabama.
Fouts was 21-6 with a 1.39 ERA, with 193 strikeouts in 181⅔ innings.
Fouts pitched back-to-back shutouts in elimination games in the World Series, striking out a combined 14.
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Strikeouts, strikeouts, strikeouts
Foutshas 22 starts with 10-plus strikeouts and 17 against ranked opponents. She's struck out least 10 in nine straight starts and has struck out 30 of her 43 batters faced in the 2021 WCWS. Her season total is up 344.
She broke the all-time record for strikeouts in a single SEC Tournament with 39 this season. The 39 strikeouts breaks Britni Sneed’s (LSU) record (37).
She tied the SEC record for number of strikeouts in a single SEC Tournament game with 15, tying former Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio (Texas A&M, 2017). She has struck out 28 batters in the SEC Tournament.
In the first game of the 2021 WCWS against Arizona, Fouts tied a career-high for strikeouts (16) while striking out the side in four innings. She also held the four- through nine-hole hitters hitless with 13 combined strikeouts.
Fouts added 14 strikeouts in her second start of the 2021 WCWS in OKC against the UCLA Bruins en route to a 6-0 victory.
She can go the distance
Fouts has 26 complete games this season and 55 in her career. She has pitched a shutout in 21 of those.
Fouts most recent complete game was a perfect game against the UCLA Bruins in the second round of the WCWS. This was just the sixth perfect game in WCWS history and the first since Southern Miss' Courtney Blades in 2000.
She also was part of a combined perfect game in the opening weekend of the 2021 season.
She's a teammate
Fouts is always crediting her teammates and pitching coach Stephanie Vanbrakle Protho to media when afforded the chance.
After pitching a complete-game shutout with 16 strikeouts against Mississippi State, Fouts responded with, "Bailey (Hemphill) has been great making me look better. I love throwing to her. Coach Steph has been calling great pitches all year."